A MUST READ!!!
Disclaimer: This is not my writing, I am sharing it because it speaks so profoundly on the matter.
Enough of this Gay Bashing. Enough!
by KM on Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 1:14pm
Let me state the bottom line upfront: I support gay people and their human rights and freedoms accorded to all (freedom from fear, freedom to live in dignity, freedom from want etc ) I will not stand by silently as the hateful debate about gays escalates. I am a christian woman and an African. I am a human being. I know and love many gay people. My church minister at Harvard was gay. One of my most important mentors is gay. I have worked and continue to work with the most intelligent and dynamic gay people. I have experienced sexism and racism. I have studied and researched genocides and purges based on specific intent to destroy “a group” of people. I refuse to be the silent bystander in this hate campaign.
The nomination of Willy Mutunga and Nancy Baraza as Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice has surfaced a debate about gay rights ( or as the case may be, non rights) Haters and homophobes have swarmed out of the woodwork and in places like facebook, email list serves ( e.g. KPTJ) and comments portals in newspapers (where many go by fake names), they express the most outrageous nuggets of ignorance and hate about homosexuals, their fellow Kenyans and human beings. Both Willy and Nancy are well respected human rights advocates who believe in the indivisibility of rights. Willy wears an ear ring on his left ear ( 🙂 ), and Nancy’s PHD thesis iis on the rights of homosexuals in East Africa. However, the debate is quite un informed and becoming increasingly uncivil.
The bias against homosexuals can escalate to murderous levels as we have witnessed in the recent killings of lesbians in South Africa. Threats against gay people and the folks who support them, is the subject of proposed legislation in Uganda and other places. The debate forms part of cultural , political , social and religious debates. Many human rights activists are afraid to take on advocacy on behalf of homosexuals because this is not “politically correct’ . You see, a friend told me yesterday , one’s social standing may be ruined by taking on too open a position on ‘these people’ . To paraphrase Peter J Gomes, ( Harvard Memorial Church Minister ) one’s stand on homosexuality detrmines one’s standing on society’s scale on virtues and values , making the topic almost undebatable.
So it’s a good thing Willly & Nancy happened and created this opportunity to re-engage the debate (always lurking under the surface) . For people who identify as christians, the homosexual debate is very alive and disturbing. The narrative of Sodom & Gommorrah, the law of Leviticus , the Deutronomic sanctions and the teachings of Paul provide ample ammunition to close the debate. Remember that Biblical text also had quite a bit to say about women ( 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2: 11-12) and slaves (Ephesians 6:5) We have been able to find redeeming texts in the Bible that equalise all children of God. If you read Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s sermons and speeches on gay people you will find these(I have pasted one of his speeches below) .
But we insist on making homosexuality only about sex, we diminish the life experiences of our fellow human beings. Nobody focuses on the sex lives of heterosexuals do they? Yet when we discuss homosexuality, it is always about the sex and especially the mechanics of it. Do heterosexuals have their minds in the gutter ALL the time?? “THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE’ have lives outside of sexual relationships. They have hobbies, homes, children,families, interests, jobs. They have full lives, doing important things that benefit heterosexuals perhaps even more than themselves. They don’t sit around thinking …”ahh ….mmmh…..I wonder when I’m gonna have my next homosexual experience”!
Friends, can we have a civil informed debate that illuninates and advances “ubuntuness”? Can we help stop the hate and fear ? I think It’s TIME to stand up and be counted against this injustice.
Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong.
It is time to stand up against another wrong.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God’s family. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded. “But they are sinners,” I can hear the preachers and politicians say. “They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished.” My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love? The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.
*Over & Out*